"The kitchen is the gathering place where thoughtfully prepared foods can break-down barriers." Susie Coiner
Shopping malls were big in the 80’s but in the following decade, they were huge. In the early 90’s, Dawahare’s department store opened inside Kentucky Oaks Mall in Paducah, Kentucky. Dawahare’s was a fourth generation family owned business founded in 1907 by S.F. Dawahare, a native of Syria, who began as a peddler in the coal camps of Eastern Kentucky (Lexington Herald Leader). At the time of its heyday, the company owned 40 stores in KY, TN, Ohio, and W. Virginia.
During the expansion, Susie was in California working at Ann Taylor as a manager in training. Ann Taylor apparel was known in the 80’s and 90's for the power suit and tailored clothing worn by career women across the U.S. and eventually 100 countries worldwide. A. F. Dawahare, Susie's father asked Susie to return to Kentucky to manage the Paducah location. She was the perfect person for the job bringing style and grace to the western Kentucky market.
A graduate from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor’s degree in merchandising, apparel, and textiles, Susie accepted the challenge and moved to Quilt City USA to join the family business.
Susie’s father was a firm believer in community involvement. Part of her task as manager of the Paducah Dawahare’s, as well as, overseer of store locations from Pikeville to Paducah was to engage citizens. “We want you to put a good footprint in the community,” said Susie’s dad. So, she got on several local boards and found out quickly that many of the conversations revolved around BBQ.
As she ventured out to honor her father's request the goal was to grow the business. In her search for creating positivity within the market, Susie kept hearing chatter that revolved around questions like ‘What’s your favorite BBQ?’ And, everyone had an opinion. In the meantime, local charities would come by the store asking for donations. “There were so many agencies that needed funding,” said Susie. Then came the 'Aha' moment.
Growing up in Lexington, Susie enjoyed going to the chili cook-off at the Lexington Red Mile. If you're unfamiliar with The Red Mile on Red Mile Road, its home to gaming, horse racing, seasonal festivals and food contests like the chili cook-off.
While attending an event at Paducah's Blue Grass Downs horse racing track, Susie had the 'Aha' moment. The ‘Aha’ translated into BBQ which soon unfolded into one of the biggest, if not the biggest festival in western Kentucky.
BBQ on the River in Paducah, KY
One year after embracing our little town, Susie was set-up on a blind date with Andrew Coiner. The matchmaker was Chris Black owner of Ray Black & Son, a leading construction company that's nearing 100 years old. Coiner was a local attorney and on the Main Street Board. One of the first things the couple realized they had in common was love of community.
Susie said, “That night, we attended a Market House Theater play, Camelot. Then, we went to Jeremiah’s restaurant where we watched the O.J. Simpson chase on television.” On that date, they discussed the idea of the BBQ festival. “Andrew was very encouraging. I had him at BBQ,” said Susie.
Not too far down the road, the First Ever BBQ on the River had its debut in 1995 with 16 vendors. Fast forward twenty-five years and the festival has grown to a whopping 70 food vendors and 80 non-food vendors. Susie remains president of the organization and, in case you wondered, is still unsure what lies ahead for the fundraiser in 2021.
Professionally, Susie’s life was on the right track. Her philanthropic projects were underway; projects that met with her father's expectations. The next move, and possibly her biggest, was marrying Andrew. The two wed in 1996 and started life as this beautiful, educated, community-focused power couple.
A few years down the road, as if life couldn’t get any sweeter, their daughter Lilly was born. “Andrew and I would butt heads about every single thing except Lilly. She was the one constant of which we both agreed.” And that one constant paid off. Lilly is in the process of finishing up school at the University of Alabama and will be going to law school in the fall. “She’s often described herself as being her dad’s ‘soul mate’. Being the best teacher for Lilly was always the goal of Susie and Andrew.
In the mid 2000’s, Susie began to ‘do her own thing’ outside of the company. She started a consulting business to help other businesses sell goods, advertise, connect with the community, and develop their brand. Due to a slow-down in mall traffic across America, Dawahare’s closed all of its stores in 2008.
Susie was about to make another business move that would encompass aspects of both her professional and personal life. “Andrew was always encouraging about every single business idea,” said Susie. With that said, she founded BBQ & More.
“I fell in love with the building,” said Susie. The BBQ & More building really spoke to Susie. One of its special features is the horse and carriage commerce and mercantile area in the back of the building. To capitalize on the space, plans are in the works for an 'open air market.'
Susie said the outside space will be an extension of the interior of the business offering more fun ways to shop. The new products will coordinate with all of the other fabulous lines the store carries. The goal is to enrich the lives of customers. "I adore my customers and think about them every step of the way!" said Susie.
The test kitchen inside BBQ & More was inspired by William Sonoma and Cracker Barrel. “Carol Gault was a big part of the ‘push’ to include the kitchen,” said Susie. The space is actually a licensed restaurant. The idea behind the test kitchen is so the ‘customer can sample and taste whatever they are buying.’
Andrew and Susie were both passionate about food. “He was always so supportive,” she said. "He did say to keep the store manned-up.”
One of the marketing tools Susie used for the business was a website/blog called ‘Susie in the Black;' it started about two-and-a-half years ago. Then, life happened. A trilogy of events sent Susie’s world spiraling. First, her dad became ill and passed away. Second, a trusted employee stole a large sum of money from the BBQ on the River account. Third, Andrew had a stroke and passed away.
Susie said, “My life was derailed.” Obviously, she had to do something quick. After all, Lilly needed her and so many others. So, she started journaling and meditating at least three minutes a day. She said, “One of my philosophies that helps me stay out of a crappy situation is to get out of the negative spiral as quickly as possible. The longer you stay down the rabbit hole the harder it is to get out.”
'That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.' Friedrich Nietzsche
“I feel myself growing everyday,” said Susie. “My mom is amazing and encourages me. I believe in leading with good intent of what you want to happen, and if you do the hard work, it will turn out the way it’s supposed to.”
“Lilly had such an amazing relationship with her dad and I’m so thankful for that,” said Susie. Mom and daughter are working hard to stay positive and ahead of the curve. Much of the family lives in Lexington and Lilly hopes to attend law school somewhere in the vicinity. Having family support is so important to Susie and there’s a good number of loving family members around the Lexington area.
BBQ & More is more than just a brick and mortar business for Susie. The spirit behind the business is buying local when possible with the highest quality products available. She said, “We have the most wonderful customers in the world.” Loyal customers that receive top-notch customer service, exceptional quality products, and the opportunity to shop online with a storefront location to boot, will succeed there’s no doubt with Susie Coiner at the helm.
Susie in the Black, a website - blog emphasizing daily profitability; literally and figuratively
Jackie Wagner Long is a wife, mother, business coach, and global entrepreneur
Jackie Wagner Long started working from home with Rodan + Fields skincare company after her first child Lucyanne was born. That was nine years ago. Since the pandemic, Jackie’s husband Eric has made himself more available at home to equally share household responsibilities. As a result, the additional home time has brought the family closer together and provided “the best year ever for R + F,” said Jackie.
As a reward, the family is building a ‘COVID’ pool. It’s the pool everyone 'rushed out' to get last summer and has since been on backorder. With the uncertainty of the pandemic, families wanted a pool to stay cool during the dog days of summer. It was unclear whether or not public pools would be open. With pools in high demand, some had to wait a year to build their concrete pond. This is the Long's year.
Whatever the case, swimming is a wonderful summer sport/activity and the Longs are conditioned to be active and moving. In the early years, Jackie was a competitive swimmer and won numerous awards. In fact, during middle school, she participated in both swim and track. At age 13, she decided to compete in track only.
Jackie started cross country running in the sixth grade competing at the high school level and joined the St. Mary's High School track team. She won her first state track championship while in the 6th grade in the 3200 meter. Jackie said, “I thought it was the coolest thing ever, being so young and around high school kids.” This was only the beginning of an incredible career in cross country running.
In high school, athletics was Jackie’s jam. Make no mistake, she was a smart cookie too graduating with honors. During her tenure, she won 16 KHSAA State Championship Gold Medals. Four times she was selected by KTCCCA (Kentucky Track and Cross Country Coaches Association) as Class A runner of the year. Two years ago, she was inducted into their hall of fame.
During the early years of her success, Jackie’s mom Becky Bowers was there for every meet, award, and accolade. Part of Bowers support was to encourage Jackie to personally and publicly thank the coaches and others that helped Jackie reach her goals. “I was expected to make speeches thanking my coaches. It was uncomfortable, but I did it. Mom made me get up and present. This was her expectation.” said Jackie.
As a successful athlete, Jackie could write her ticket to the college of her choice. And she did. The University of Kentucky offered her a full athletic running scholarship to run for the UK Wildcats women’s track and field team. It was a dream come true.
After running for over a year, Jackie decided she no longer wanted this dream. She wanted to rush Chi Omega sorority and be a regular college student. “I was just tired of running.”
Burnout can easily happen to cross country competitors. The constant pressure to meet goals, schedules, and keep pace with other runners was intense. Paying close attention to your body and keeping it conditioned to avoid injury was exhausting. The repetition of running the same miles day in and day out was colorless. This type of regimen could lead to burnout for anybody.
However, Jackie thrives in this environment. She’s a goal-setter, an overachiever, it's in her wheelhouse. But, it was time to hang up the running shoes. “I just didn’t want to do it anymore. I know that’s sad but I didn’t.” After she quit the team, Jackie played every intramural sport available on campus and was team captain for many events. Though she gave up running she never gave up the thrill of competitive sports.
Four years of college had passed and Jackie received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Integrated Strategic Communications. Amazingly, there was no ‘big plan’ after graduating. Jackie didn’t have a job lined up and her parents ‘begged her to come home’. Against her preference to move away from the watchful eye of her parents, Jackie returned to Paducah and started knocking on doors looking for a job.
After returning home, jobs were scarce. Bowers told Jackie to start going door to door until someone let her in. She hit the streets and landed her first career job. David Long with Image Graphics hired Jackie, even though he wasn’t hiring. She handled the marketing for two years then left to work in the family business.
The Wagner family has several businesses in Paducah. They own Wagner Moving and Storage, a couple of Smoke Shops, and later Wagner Wine and Spirits. Jackie started managing the Subway at the Smoke Shop by the Brookport Bridge. It was here where she wore many hats from payroll to custodian. She really worked hard wanting to prove herself to the men in the family.
After Wagner Wine and Spirits was established, Jackie worked on the weekends at wine tasting events. The sampling was a social affair that invited patrons to taste various wines. It was here that she got to show off her marketing, PR, and sales skills learned while at college.
The wine tasting was a great addition to Wagner's Wine and Spirits 'softer side.' It complemented warm summer nights and longer days. Another way to experience the evening was to head downtown to one of the local watering holes.
It was a clear night and Jackie was ready to unwind after a hard day's work. She met up with friends at Fat Moe’s on Broadway. Fat Moe’s had a great outdoor garden with a bar, plenty of seating, and cornhole.
During this particular gathering, Jackie played a game of cornhole with Eric. “I thought he was cute and he must’ve thought I was cute too because he gave me his number,” said Jackie. Eric wrote his name and phone number on a plain, white napkin and asked her to give him a call. Two days later, she did.
The two started dating in 2007 and got engaged nine months later. Eric proposed to Jackie on a scrapbook page. Scrapbooking has been around for centuries and it's a way to record special memories through pictures, newspaper clippings, small trinkets or priceless knickknacks. Jackie was big into scrapbooking around this time. Though not a scrap booker himself, Eric crafted his own special page with the words, “Will you marry me?” Jackie said she doesn’t remember how he got her to look inside the memory book but he did and from that moment forward, everything changed.
Nine months later, Jackie and Eric were married. The wedding and the reception were held at St. Thomas Moore in Paducah. The honeymoon plan was to fly to Cabo San Lucas the day after the wedding. Jackie’s dad, Russell Wagner didn’t think it was a good time to be in Cabo and strongly suggested they alter their plans. So, it was off to West Palm Beach, Florida.
After working in the family business for three years, Jackie decided it was time to look for something else. She wanted to be taken seriously as a professional woman and thought a job outside the family business was the best option. She went to work at USEC, the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, as an administrative assistant. “It wasn’t fulfilling at all. I made a lot of money to sit in a trailer with a bunch of men all day and answer the phone,” said Jackie. So, she left USEC in search of the career she desperately wanted.
Jackie’s true professional calling would be discovered with the next position. At American Home Patient, she would work outside sales. As an outside salesperson, she made her own schedule, set competitive goals, and was in charge of her own potential income. While at the medical home supply business, Jackie had her first child and went part-time. Eighteen months later, she left the workforce to be a full-time mom.
The couple had financially planned for the day they would start a family. Eric had joined his Dad’s law practice, Long & Long after receiving a law degree from Northern Kentucky University. The firm, located in Benton, Kentucky handles real estate, business, probate, and estate planning. After Eric’s dad retired, he maintained his client list as well as his dads.
Jackie started getting stir crazy. She was ready to make her mark again in the workforce. “I missed having something for myself,” she said. A Facebook friend invited her to listen to a presentation on a new skincare line. A group of kindergarten teachers in Benton, KY booked a room at a local restaurant to hear about a new venture. Jackie admits, “I had no clue what they were talking about. I’ve never used skin care, sometimes didn’t even wash my face.”
After returning home, Jackie told Eric about the meeting, he brushed it off and suggested she forget about it. Jackie couldn’t forget about it and three weeks later invested in R + F’s biggest package. The cost was $1,000. Jackie said, “Eric told me it was a pyramid scheme and I was going to blow our money. All he wanted me to do now was earn back the money spent.”
A month after starting the business, Jackie found out she was pregnant with baby number two. ‘This would work out,’ she thought. Jackie was extremely organized, driven, and had a plan. When the children napped, she would work. When the children went to sleep at night, she would get on the computer. When the children were having ‘down time’ she would work on client contacts, make phone calls, whatever needed to be done.
Eric picked up the slack. He could see that the business was growing and wanted to help. He started doing the dishes after dinner so Jackie could get on the computer. There were other small gestures too. During summer months, they hired part-time help for the kids while Jackie worked from home. “It had turned into a serious business and I wanted to treat it as such,” she said.
Jackie’s R + F business has grown to a team of 1,500 consultants in four countries with annual sales of four million dollars. Jackie has won numerous sales awards and been granted trips to Cabo, Cancun, Hawaii, and other places stateside. The trips are great, "but I'm more grateful for the long lasting friendships the business has provided," said Jackie. Once consultants start pulling in $100K a month in team sales, a stipend is granted for a car. Right now, Jackie drives a white Mercedes along with four other car achievers within her team. Yeah, baby.
Jackie said, “I’ll continue to ride the wave as long as it lasts.” The R + F line has been in business for 12 years. Mary Kay Inc. has been in business since 1963. Rodan + Fields is in four countries and plans to be in 150 countries. It does appear there’s room to grow.
“While I work, the kids are old enough now that they don’t need me all the time,” said Long. “Their time is very structured and they’ve adapted. There’s study time, play time, craft time, snack time, and rest time.”
Lucyanne is nine years old and Bode is six. This was the first year the children were going to be in school full-time. Then, the pandemic struck. The Longs opted to participate in online learning. “Both have done very good at home with their virtual learning,” said Long. Thanks to the R + F income, Eric has the freedom to be home more during the day. “He’s doing as much as I am,” said Jackie.
The Longs reside in Benton, Kentucky where Eric’s law firm is located. Both are dedicated to family, work, sports, and playtime. Jackie said, “I’m blessed with everything I ever wanted and I’m achieving everything I ever dreamed. Life is good and I'm forever grateful."
This is Jackie's unique story. For more information please search "Rodan + Fields, IDS'
A father's intuition during a decade of change prepares his daughter to inherit a real estate dynasty
The sixties was a decade of change. The country was encountering the Civil Rights Movement, anti-war protests, 'free love,' and an influx of women in the workforce. Due to the change, an economic ‘boom’ was shaping up. Demands for labor increased and so did women in the workplace. Joe C. Marshall, a savvy businessman in the 60’s, took note of the paradigm shift and put his middle school daughter, Mary Marshall Hoy to work during summer vacations.
“The summer my dad told me I had to work, I asked why?” said Hoy. After all, her friends were heading to the lake, playing tennis, doing all the fun stuff kids do when they’re not in school. He explained that women were working now and having careers. He had the foresight and confidence in his daughter that she could do anything a man could do.
Hoy was raised in Paducah, attended city schools, and was proud of her ‘long, blue line’ (Go Big Blue). While at Paducah Tilghman High School, Hoy was in the PTHS choir, Spanish club, and was one of five Valedictorians from her 1973 graduating class. This honor was shared with Rick Straub, Rick Lefebvre, Janet Dodson, and Rob Rhodes.
Hoy and John met their Junior year of high school. In fact, Jon introduced himself to the smart girl with the pretty face during a casual conversation over needlepoint. "We met in English class. Jon said he liked my long hair and my wooden purse with the needlepoint stitching. It had a 'cool' saying on it that I stitched myself." said Hoy. Interestingly, the two were in concert choir together too but had no idea the other took the class. "Back in the day, the number of choir students was very large." she said.
After graduating in 1973, Hoy attended Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. Centre was a top-50 liberal arts college founded by Presbyterian leaders. Hoy graduated with a Bachelor of Science in economics and management and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish. Shortly after graduating, she went to work for a company in Lexington that managed small businesses.
During the fall of 1976, Hoy and Jon got engaged. After a couple of months, they married on New Year's Day. Celebrating big events on the first day of the year was a tradition in the Hoy and Marshall families. Jon’s mom, Shirley was a New Year’s baby and Hoy’s parents, Joe and Eleanor were also married on January 1st.
The wedding was held at The Presbyterian Church in Paducah. Hoy said, “It was a typical church wedding.” However, the church itself, was far from typical.
The First Presbyterian Church that stands today is the third structural building since its inception and has quite a history. It was founded in 1842 after the Paducah city streets were laid out by William Clark, the brother of George Rogers Clark. George Rogers Clark became the highest-ranking American patriot military officer on the northwestern frontier during the American Revolutionary War. The first church was erected in 1848 and located on Third Street near Kentucky Ave. The second church was completed in 1888 and is the present site at Seventh and Jefferson. The second structure was destroyed by fire so a third was built as it stands today.
The rehearsal dinner was the first event for the Ninth Street House in Paducah. “My in-laws and the Grace’s were dear friends. Curtis and Norma worked it out.” said Hoy. If you're from Paducah or anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line, most that loved delicious, artfully sculpted food, knew the name Curtis Grace. He opened the restaurant in an old Victorian-style home located in downtown Paducah in the 70’s. It was fine dining at it’s best. Hoy said the event was ‘magical and delicious.’
The couple moved to Hollywood after the wedding for Jon to earn a degree in audio engineering. While Jon was in school, Hoy worked for California Federal. “At the time, it (California Federal) was the largest federally chartered S & L in the nation.” she said. Hoy worked for the head of the escrow department. “In the day, we made and processed loans and sold them on the secondary market too.”
After living in Los Angeles for a couple of years, the couple moved back home to be with family. In 1979, Hoy got licensed to sell real estate and joined her father’s company, Joe C. Marshall Realty, a.k.a. Marshall Realty.
The real estate world wasn’t new to Hoy. Remembering those early days working for her dad, it seemed a natural career path. “I worked summers at my dad’s company from when I was 14 to 19 years old,” said Hoy. At the time, she didn’t have an appreciation for time spent learning the business, however, she does now. In the late 60’s, “Not many daughters did that years ago," said Hoy.
Joe Marshall started his company before Hoy was born. “Not only did he sell houses, he owned a mortgage and insurance company too.” said Hoy.
Additionally, Marshall managed the Guthrie Building for the Guthrie’s, a prominent family in Paducah. Today, the Guthrie Building is a historical landmark. According to the historical marker, it was established in 1897 and was known as the Fraternity Building during WWII. It was home of the Paducah-McCracken County Draft Board. Nearly 5,000 men and women from the Paducah area served in the war. It was designated a Kentucky landmark in 2002, and is now used as an office building.
Hoy’s father died in 1990 and left the business to Hoy. The Guthrie building was sold and the office merged with Coldwell Banker. Hoy was a broker with Coldwell Banker/Marshall Realty for 25 years.
An award was established in Hoy’s dad’s name, the Joe C. Marshall Distinguished Service Award. The award represented those that contributed to community service beyond self. Hoy won the award as well as realtor of the year as a broker. She’s also held every office at the Paducah Board of Realtors and Western KY. Regional MLS.
Hoy and Jon have three children; Hannah (40), Zach (38), and Sam (36). Hannah is a second grade teacher at Clark Elementary in Paducah, has three children and is married to Andrew Hammonds. Hammonds is originally from New Zealand and owns a farm in Lone Oak, Koru Gardens. The farm is 21 acres of land dedicated to growing natural and sustainable produce delivered to your table.
Zach is a Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist in Nashville, Tennessee affiliated with Tristar Centennial Medical Center. He treats children with a broad array of diseases caused by germs, viruses, and fungi, ranging from flu to hospital acquired infections to pneumonia. Zach's uncle and Hoy's brother is a retired surgeon and lives in Floyd's Knob, IN. The Marshalls are an intelligent clan.
Both Hannah and Zach attended Centre College like their Mom. Hoy said, “When my children went to Centre, both the professors remembered me from those days.” During Hoy’s summers at Centre, she worked for a couple of professors brushing up on her typing skills. “I typed a Quantum Mechanics book and a statistics book.” she said.
Sam graduated from the University of Louisville. Currently, he works with mom selling real estate and appraising property. Hoy said, “Business has been booming. I thought COVID might ruin real estate, it’s done the opposite. Interest rates are historically low and homes are selling fast."
Though business is good, the negative effects of the virus does take its toll. Hoy said she’ll feel better about it all when there’s a herd immunity. “I’m a mask wearer. I’ve never been too concerned in western Kentucky because we tend to follow the rules, however, I miss seeing my friends.” Hoy said a reunion had been planned for this summer with some of her high school girlfriends. “We planned a trip for turning 65. We had to cancel. It was the right thing to do.”
Hoy and Jon are still able to enjoy one of their favorite pastimes, golf. The Hoys have played golf for eight years and they love it. They’re members of Drake Creek Golf Club in Ledbetter, Kentucky and play courses all over western Kentucky and southern Illinois.
In addition to golf, the Hoys like to travel. Hoy has a sister, Jane that’s 14 years older and lives in Montana. When Hoy was younger, summer trips were spent visiting Jane. She lived in Seattle for a long time and taking trips out west has been missed.
Other fun destinations the family enjoys are trips to Florida and Point Clear, Alabama. As a side note, travel worth mentioning includes New Zealand and Spain.
The young girl that worked summers for her dad, is now a successful businesswoman, actively selling houses and appraising property at Century 21 Service Realty in Paducah. Jon is a media specialist at CSI (Computer Services Incorporated). Hoy has many, many friends that go ‘way back’. They dine, laugh, and share the best of times. With a thriving career, successful adult children, and husband Jon of 44 years, 65 is looking better and better all the time.
Women Who Do it All are powerhouses with an abundance of drive, energy and heart. Since the creation of the DC comic book superhero ‘Wonder Woman,’ women with careers and families have been compared to the fictional character granted superhuman powers by Greek gods. In addition to family and career, these ‘super’ women still find time to develop better self-awareness and continue the path toward personal growth.
A more modern day depiction of the character might look like Jessy Graff, the Supergirl stuntwoman on American Ninja Warrior that made history on the show during its fifth season as the first woman to make city finals.
The point is a woman with a career, family, and the ability to make time for herself is typically young, ambitious, and full of fight. Brandy Key, pharmacist and business owner fits that mold. From the ‘get go’ Key's parents were strong supporters of both their children’s dreams and ambitions. Brother Benji Trice was, and still is, one of her closest confidants and 'the one' that kept her on her toes. “We were very close growing up and remain so to this day.” said Key.
Born in Paducah and raised in Kevil, Kentucky, Key is a graduate of Ballard Memorial High School. When planning her career, she said it wasn’t a difficult choice. “My mom was a pharmacy tech her whole adult life and I was in and out of pharmacies with her as a child. It was a natural career path.”
After graduating high school, Key completed undergraduate work at WKCTC (formerly Paducah Community College) and received her Doctorate of Pharmacy from St. Louis College of Pharmacy in 2007. To receive a Pharm D. degree, the program required at least two years of specific undergraduate college study and four academic years of professional pharmacy school. Now, armed and dangerous with an advanced degree, Key’s first job after graduating college was with an independent pharmacy in Paducah.
Working for an independent pharmacy had its perks, but Key decided a corporate career would provide a greater advantage and took a position with the Kmart Corporation. The first Kmart opened in 1962 and until the 90’s was the second largest retailer in the country after Sears. At its peak, the corporation owned nearly 2,500 stores globally. Key stayed with Kmart in Lone Oak, Kentucky until it closed in 2018. After leaving the company, she found her new home at West Towne Pharmacy in Paducah’s west end.
It wasn’t enough for Key to have such a demanding career as a pharmacist, she kept pushing herself even more. In 2015, she became a CrossFit level 1 trainer for CrossFit Dig Deep. “I’ve always had a passion for fitness,” said Key.
CrossFit is a combination of safe, effective exercise and sound nutrition. The workouts are varied and tailored to fit an individual’s needs. All workouts can be modified whether its weight-lifting, cardiovascular, or flexibility training; the movements are designed to be used with an everyday lifestyle. Intensity levels are dependent on skill level, whether a beginner or seasoned pro.
When living the CrossFit lifestyle, eating lean meat and vegetables, seed and nuts, some fruits with very little starch and no sugar is what’s recommended. Key said, “Nutrition and mental health play such a critical role in overall wellness. Sometimes I neglect those areas when I’m overwhelmed but I’m working on it as I speak.”
CrossFit Dig Deep was Paducah's first CrossFit gym, established in 2013 by Dennis McClain. In 2017, Key and her husband purchased the affiliate to CrossFit Dig Deep from owners Mike and Sammy Ray. CrossFit Dig Deep is located at 857 McGuire Avenue in Paducah. The business was thriving until the pandemic caused a temporary paralysis.
“Covid has taken a toll on the CrossFit business. We were shut down for 76 days in the spring and it’s been hard to recover.” COVID-19 has been difficult on many small businesses and especially gyms and restaurants. Key continued, “We had to make adjustments to our day to day operations but we are RESILIENT!”
Key gets much of her drive and ambition from her parents. “I watched my dad do whatever it took...working long hours, multiple jobs, to provide for my brother and I growing up.” Her parents had high expectations of their children. Key said that her brother Benji Trice is an overachiever as well. “I have to keep up,” she said.
Trice graduated with a Telecommunications degree from Murray State and has been employed with Computer Services Incorporated in Paducah for over 20 years. He resides in Princeton, Kentucky with his wife Jennifer Potter Trice and two sons.
Key is married to her best friend and business partner Doug Key. She has a daughter Sophie 10 and three stepsons, Kolbee 22, Braiden 20, and Tristan 14. Key is a great role model for her daughter. “Sophie has watched me run and gun and hustle her entire life.” She and Doug’s hope is to ‘pay-off all debt and leave a legacy for their children.”
Recently, Key started a nonprofit organization with a group of high school friends called ‘All Time Sports.’ The nonprofit helps to raise funds for kids in need of sports equipment, sign-up fees, whatever financial assistance is needed to keep them active. Since many sports programs in the area have been shut down due to C-19, the organization has decided to help families in need this Christmas. If you know of a family struggling, go to their Facebook page for more information.
Key is a member of the Charity League of Paducah. This particular organization raises funds for a number of good causes. One such cause is the local Special Olympics. This year, Key was on the board for the ‘Big Brown Truck Pull’. The socially-distanced affair took place in October and raised money for the McCracken County Special Olympics. Donations paid for competitions in basketball, bowling, softball, cheerleading, as well as track and field. This year’s event raised over $25,000.
It’s a goal of Keys to get her CrossFit level 3 certification in the near future. She earned her CF-2 in February that’s centered around coaching and training other athletes. There are four levels of CrossFit certifications. One of her passions is to help others grow and reach their fitness goals.
Many friendships have formed while training, owning, and working out at CrossFit Dig Deep. She said it’s fun having friends that are interested in fitness. They do things like game night, pumpkin carving contests, and even Christmas caroling.
As a pharmacist at West Towne Pharmacy, COVID-19 testing has kept Key on high alert. She and partner pharmacist Grant Mathis have been crazy busy as one of only a few places in Paducah to offer rapid COVID-19 testing. Key said, “It’s been insane. I had no idea there was such a need in this area.”
Multi-tasking is a preordained gift to women. Key takes it to a whole new level. There are other opportunities and adventures currently on her radar screen. Be watching and listening for Key’s next move. It’s guaranteed to be the next big thing. “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be, When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.” Lao Tzu